BEE Gets Back In Action At Farmland

Sunset Koch.jpg

Somehow, it’s always a little colder on the farmer. We had some hearty BEEs line-up at the Farmland 5k this past Saturday, and it seemed as though all the snow in northern Michigan was concentrated in one neat spot: the course!

The unique event has grown in prestige with every passing year, and while its seen the full gambit of December weather, this year was one of the colder editions to date. Last year’s dry and 40-something day was a treat, but runners and riders showed up to Rasho Farm to just a bit of a shock. If you haven’t left Traverse City recently, there was still some snow on top of the hill out of town, and the bikers were just a bit surprised to see so much clinging on.

Farmland always puts the runners on course first, with the Free-For-All Bike Race coming afterward. That had a big impact on the race this year, with over one hundred pairs of feet alternatively packing in and breaking up sections of the snowy course. The strong wind, almost dramatically out of the north and whipping over East Bay, saw a frigid start to affairs, and it was Jeff Koch leading the way for our Hive. Not far behind, Dave “Sunset” Scott made the most of his run, though he hadn’t been able to put many jogs together in before race day. Chelsey Schlicht wasn’t too far behind, and with her 26 minute 5k time, she was looking at a great shot at the combined title for 2018.

Chelsey’s great start was a good sign that we’d keep the combined title in the Hive, with coaches Susan and Lauri going 1-2 last year. As the final runners crossed the line, there were dozens of bikes zooming around and making some last minute adjustments, especially to tire pressure. It was a tough day to pick a bike and, true to the name of the event, we saw everything from a singlespeed cyclocross bike to fat bikes, to our own Marc Brunette piloting a 29er with a Trail-A-Bike! A BEE regular, Marc’s toddler, Townes, hopped into action to give Dad a little extra horsepower, even in the cold weather!

There were plenty of strong riders on the line, with the added twist of some being tired from the run, with others fresh and just trying to get warmed up. Dave “Sunset” Scott found himself heading up a strong chase group with Jeff Koch and a few others giving race leader Jorden Wakeley a hearty pursuit. After taking the run easy with his son, Tim Pulliam was paired up with Norte superstar Kyan Olshove for much of the day, just ahead of Rick Bielewicz. Each 2-mile lap included a few small, steep climbs and a long drag into a biting headwind, and early gaps grew wider every time around.

Sunset easily won the Master’s combined, a feat matched by Chelsey’s Women’s overall win. It was just the start of a banner day for BEEs; Koch, Pulliam, and Bielewicz all took wins, while long-time BEEs Kris Sands and Keith Conway found podium spots. Rob G., back on his beloved Beargrease, was third in his age group, with Don Marsh a bit further back but still second on his category.

Farmland is always a great check-in of fitness and a way to start getting motivated for 2019. We’re heading into the real heart of our Tempo Block, and if you’re feeling that little flicker of intensity and focus, you’re right on schedule!

Check out the full results and tell your pals good job!